Reading Judgment

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Self-judgment and recrimination and recrimination is a frequent theme for me. For all of us, really. When we do our goals check-ins here, we invite the should-have-dones and feelings teeter on the edge of success or disappointment.

I haven’t set much for reading goals this year. Mostly because I don’t make them, so why set myself up for failure?

I come down hard on myself for my reading habits. Every year, I like to keep a list of books I’ve read. While I worked in a bookstore that let me borrow, my list at the end of the year contained a fair number of nonfiction titles. I read mysteries and thrillers and popular fiction, too.

Since I left that job and started working full time, my number of books read has halved and the titles are all fantasy and scif-fi. I’ve judged myself negatively for this trend.

But you know what? Screw that. When I stop and think, it makes sense: my time to read more than halved. It’s more amazing that I still read as much as I do. Shorter pieces have become easier for me to approach, especially when ripping myself away from a good book is physically painful. Of course I skew towards rereading familiar books and gravitating to young adult titles.

And you know what else? I still read nonfiction. I read tons of it, but it just happens to come in more easily digestible sizes because the internet is a wonderful thing. Harder to fall asleep when I’m staring at my phone’s screen (though this pregnancy has certainly made that awfully easy). Harder for dry facts to lose my interest before I read an article to its conclusion. Because nonfiction requires a greater effort and attention for me.

So rather than beat myself up over the lack of variety in my books-read list, I’m proud that nonfiction reading has become a daily occurrence. At this point, I probably read more nonfiction than anything else. Awesome for research and investigation purposes, but less awesome when I start judging myself by a list that does not include essays and articles.

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